SpaceX debut of recycled rocket and new launch pad

SpaceX Capsule Makes 2nd Delivery for NASA at International Space Station

NASA via AP

U.S. firm SpaceX has racked up another first, launching a recycled rocket with a recycled capsule on a grocery run for Nasa.

The Falcon 9's first stage fired for almost two-and-a-half minutes, propelling the Dragon cargo carrier toward orbit before making a pinpoint descent back to Landing Zone 1 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station a few miles from pad 40.

SpaceX Successfully Launches and Lands Another Rocket
SpaceX Successfully Launches and Lands Another Rocket

The first-stage booster took flight again after a six-month turnaround. Its goal was to deliver over 4,800 pounds of supplies to the ISS, and the Dragon capsule with those supplies on board should now dock with the ISS on Sunday if all goes to plan. The Dragon previously flew to the space station in 2015; the Falcon 9 stage was first launched and landed earlier this year, in June.

This time, the capsule is hauling almost 2268 kilograms of goods, including 40 mice for a muscle-wasting study, a first-of-its-kind impact sensor for measuring space debris as minuscule as a grain of sand and barley seeds for a germination experiment by Budweiser, already angling to serve the first beer on Mars. It should reach the orbiting outpost Sunday.

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Three minutes later, the booster and second stage of the rocket separated, as SpaceX's webcast showed the two components making an arc away from each other in the sky.

"The reality is, the business of space is dominated by launch costs.so getting the costs down is important for everyone", Shireman said. It is also the first time a booster was reused for a NASA mission.

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I suppose you could argue that the Space Shuttles did this first, but not all of the Shuttle Launch System was reused-the orbiters were, of course, and the solid fuel rockets were re-furbished and re-used, but that big orange fuel tank at the center of the stack wasn't.

With the mission - their 17th launch of 2017 - SpaceX is hoping to achieve another historical milestone by simultaneously using a rocket and spacecraft that have both served in previous flights. The mission was Space X's 20th successful recovery of a first-stage booster. SpaceX spent approximately $50 million to fix and upgrade the U.S. Air Force launchpad in the year since the explosion.

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"This is the beginning of rapid and reliability reusability", said SpaceX Dragon mission manager Jessica Jensen, at a press briefing Monday.

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